Upgrading RAM on 10 year old laptop, will I see a difference?

Discussion in 'hardware' started by roark37, Mar 4, 2016.

  1. roark37

    roark37 Registered Member

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    Hi,

    I have a 10 year old Toshiba Satellite A105-S1014 with only 512k ram. It has been super reliable until I stopped using it almost completely in 2013 but recently I have been experimenting/trying to learn linux so have pulled it out again. It has XP on it and I have recently installed Lubuntu as dual boot. But both are really slow which I thought mainly could be from lack of RAM. So much to my surprise I found the attached upgrade for this laptop to 2 gigs ram.

    http://www.amazon.com/Memory-Toshiba-Satellite-A105-S1014-Upgrade/dp/B00NYMSCGU

    Now for only $15 I am not concerned about the cost but I am trying to get a sense of how much difference going from 512k ram to 2gig will make. Is that change something that will likely make a very noticeable difference? Right now XP takes about 2 minutes to fully boot and Lubuntu maybe 50 seconds or so will those boot times speed up with more RAM? And web browsing is now very slow but will the added ram make large difference there as well? I know it is subjective and hard to answer but just trying to get a sense if I should even bother or is 10 years old just too much to matter.

    Thank you.
     
  2. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    $15! Wow! Definitely a good price. So often, legacy technology RAM is very expensive since it is no longer in production. Whether a 10 year old notebook is something you want to spend money on is something worth bothering about, or not, is really up to you. At that price, I'd probably go for it if I new the notebook worked fine otherwise.

    Note according to the specs for that notebook, you currently have 512MB (not KB) of RAM installed. Still, not a lot. Additionally, 64MB of that is being stolen... err... "shared" with the integrated graphics solution so in effect, your OS only has about 448MB to work in. I suspect your hard drive is being beaten to near death all the time as the OS must be constantly banging on the Page File.

    I would expect you to see a significant boost in virtually all aspects of system performance if you bump up the RAM to 2GB. Your OS, CPU and hard drive will love you for it.

    As for your boot times, they should improve too - but don't look for that great of an improvement. During boot all the hardware devices are initializing and much of that is simply dependent on bus and CPU speeds, and not so much the quantity of RAM installed. But once fully booted, everything else should be noticeably quicker.

    Now understand, 2GB of RAM is still not a lot - but it is a whole lot more than 512MB. :)
     
  3. trott3r

    trott3r Registered Member

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    I seem to remember that 2hig was the sweet spot for xp. So define toy worth doing. Also prune startup withmsconfig
     
  4. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    I think it is 4GB but still, 2GB is much better than 512MB.
     
  5. roark37

    roark37 Registered Member

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    Thanks for the reply and I thought the extra ram would likely matter a lot but just was not sure. I am not expecting miracles but just hoping it will be at least a lot more usable. I really want to continue experimenting with linux and was considering getting a used pc off craigslist or something but I am not much of a craigslist type so thought this could hopefully be a doable option instead. Also I like experimenting with live linux usb's and with the current 512mb ram near impossible. But on my main laptop with 4gig ram live linux usb's run as fast or even faster for web browsing as that laptop normally. Is 2gig ram you think likely enough to make web browsing with live linux at least decent?

    Lastly I have never heard of this company before but again for only $15 thru Amazon not a huge risk. But has anyone ever used them or even heard of them before as it lists my exact model so assume it it accurate.

    Thanks again.
     
  6. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    It will definitely improve - assuming you have a decent connection.

    As far as trusting the site - the fact Amazon carries them gives some reassurance. That said, they have a decent site and here is the same memory. Their phone number is listed on the bottom - you can call them and maybe get a feel for the company.
     
  7. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

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    If you're using XP, then 2GB of RAM should be more than enough (it won't be if you're running Vista or later). The only exceptions would be if you reguarly have a lot of tabs open in your browser, run any memory intensive games, or do anything else that requires a lot of RAM.
     
  8. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Regardless, according to the specs of that notebook, the maximum RAM it supports is 2GB.
     
  9. Hadron

    Hadron Registered Member

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    It is not always a good idea to look at the specs to see how much RAM a computer supports because when the specs were written, the maximum RAM stick size available may have been less than what it is today.

    I have upgraded old desktops and laptops higher than the maximum RAM spec size many times over the years without problems.
     
  10. Krusty

    Krusty Registered Member

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    But isn't 32-bit OS limited to how much RAM it will use, regardless of how much is installed.
     
  11. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

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    @Hadron I looked at a few websites for a few sellers of RAM, and they all said it only supports 2GB. I usually find such websites to give accurate information, even though as you said, the specifications from the laptop manufactuer may be incorrect.
     
  12. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

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  13. Hadron

    Hadron Registered Member

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    That's because they are all referencing the original specs.
     
  14. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

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    @Hadron Not always. Some sites list the actual maximum supported RAM amount rather than the amount listed in the original specifications. As an example, the T61 ThinkPad unoficially supports 8GB of RAM and RamCity show it as supporting 8GB, but the specs from Lenovo state it only supports a maximum of 4GB.
     
  15. J_L

    J_L Registered Member

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    Actually depends on the computer, but definitely no more than 4 GB without PAE (not available on desktop Windows): https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/3_GB_barrier
     
  16. Hadron

    Hadron Registered Member

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    Just sayin'. I've been upgrading computers for 20+ years and my above comments are correct and common knowledge.

    I'll leave it up to you from here. ;)
     
  17. lotuseclat79

    lotuseclat79 Registered Member

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    Hi Krusty13,

    It all depends on whether or not the Processor x Motherboard supports the PAE and NX bits. If you have such a version of the OS that is distributed with PAE detectable, then you should definitely MAX out the RAM with 4GB if the RAM slots support 2GB RAM sticks.

    For example, I have a desktop as old as the OP's (circa 2005) planted with 4x2GB memory sticks to give me 8GB usable RAM for Ubuntu, however, when Tails stopped supporting i686 PAE versions, my system now only supports up to 4GB for Tails.

    -- Tom
     
  18. Victek

    Victek Registered Member

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    Perhaps not a miracle but definitely a "wow moment" in my experience. XP is quite disk bound with 512k, especially if you're running AV. 2GB will greatly reduce the page file dependence such that the machine may seem to have come out of a coma lol.
     
  19. Krusty

    Krusty Registered Member

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    Thanks guys. I only asked because the OP said it was an XP machine, which I'm guessing has a 32 bit OS.
     
  20. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    That's a safe assumption. While there was a 64-bit XP, you rarely saw it because there were no 64-bit programs, and not all hardware supported it either. And sadly, even with hardware that did, few makers released 64-bit drivers for it. :(
     
  21. xxJackxx

    xxJackxx Registered Member

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    If the specs say 2GB, it likely won't go beyond that. Usually that is a limitation of the motherboard chipset not being able to handle RAM of a higher density, or possibly not be able to provide enough voltage to higher capacity memory modules. This is even more likely with a laptop than a desktop. Sometimes you get lucky, but I wouldn't go making plans for a 64 bit OS or PAE or any of that.
     
  22. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    I agree.

    I don't agree with the comment above that it is not a good idea to look at the specs. While true, systems are often upgraded and revised to accept more RAM, the makers typically update the specs sheet for those revisions. Not all sites allow you to return RAM once installed unless bad. And those that do, often charge a restocking fee - not to mention you have to pay shipping for the return.
     
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